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China Labor Market Lifted by Improving Economy in the First Quarter of 2017

BEIJING, April 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Zhaopin Limited (NYSE: ZPIN) ("Zhaopin" or the "Company"), a leading career platform[1] in China focused on connecting users with relevant job opportunities throughout their career lifecycle, and the China Institute for Employment Research ("CIER") at Renmin University released the CIER Employment Index Report for the first quarter of 2017.

With the overall economy gaining momentum in the first quarter of 2017, the labor market in China provided more opportunities for job seekers, compared with the same period a year earlier.

China's First-Quarter 2017 Labor Market Highlights:

  • The CIER index in the first quarter of 2017 rose to 1.91, from 1.71 during the same period of 2016, indicating the labor market had improved with the economy. The measure declined from the fourth quarter, due to seasonal factors.
  • Internet and e-commerce continued to be the best-performing sector and energy/mineral/mining/smelting remained the worst-performing sector.
  • Eastern China had the highest CIER index score of 1.60, and Northeast China was still lagging behind with the lowest CIER index of 1.17 in the first quarter of 2017.
  • The job demand in second- and third-tier cities increased by 74% and 102%, respectively, in the first quarter of 2017 year-over-year.
  • The CIER index is very likely to decline slightly in the second quarter of 2017.

Methodology and how to interpret the data

Based on data from Zhaopin's online recruitment platform, the CIER index tracks the ratio changes between job vacancies and job seekers in a variety of industries and cities across the country, and identifies the overall trend in China's employment market. Jointly published by Zhaopin and the CIER at Renmin University every quarter, the CIER index has become a leading barometer of China's labor market and macro-economic environment.

The CIER index score is calculated by dividing the number of job vacancies during a specified period by the number of unique job seekers during the same period. A CIER index score of more than 1 indicates that the labor market is booming, with more vacancies than job seekers. A CIER index score of less than 1 indicates that the labor market competition is intensifying, with more job seekers than available vacancies.

CIER Index Dipping with Seasonal Factors

As the overall economy in China stabilized and improved in 2016, the job market reversed its declining trend and moved upward, lifting the CIER index from 1.71 in the first quarter of 2016 to 2.41 in the fourth quarter of 2016.

In the first quarter of 2017, the economy continued to gain momentum with the GDP growing by 6.9% year-over-year. Seasonal factors in the first quarter, however, caused the CIER index to drop to 1.91. The first quarter is the traditional peak season for job hopping, meaning more white-collar workers were looking for new opportunities, and college graduates also joined the market with spring campus recruitments.

Compared with the same period of 2016, the CIER index was still higher in the first quarter of 2017, indicating the labor market had improved with the economy and providing a more favorable environment for job seekers.

Excluding the effects of seasonality and changing demographics, which have traditionally resulted in a long-term rise in the CIER index scores, the quarterly adjusted CIER index for the first quarter of 2017 dipped slightly from the fourth quarter of 2016, but remained higher than the same period of 2016.

According to Zhaopin's data, total online recruitment demand increased by 52% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2017, compared with a 43% year-over-year growth in the fourth quarter of 2016. The pickup in recruitment demand was in line with the momentum in the economy.

CIER Index by Sectors

The booming internet/e-commerce sector continued to be the best-performer, with recruitment demand far exceeding the number of job seekers. However, the CIER index for the sector declined to 9.21 in the first quarter of 2017 from 10.89 in the fourth quarter of 2016 because of the high talent mobility in this busy job-hopping season. Real estate/construction/building materials/engineering sector edged into the top ten for two consecutive quarters with the overheating property market in China.

Ten best-performing sectors in the first quarter of 2017

Ranking

Sector

CIER index

1

Internet/e-commerce

9.21

2

Traffic/transportation

5.13

3

Insurance

5.12

4

Intermediary service

4.40

5

Funds/securities/futures/investment

4.18

6

Computer software

3.51

7

Farming/forestry/animal husbandry/fishery

3.15

8

Logistics/warehousing

3.03

9

IT service (system/data/maintenance)

2.98

10

Real estate/construction/building materials/engineering

2.78

Most of the worst performing sectors by CIER index ranking in the first quarter of 2017 were traditional manufacturing industries, which were suffering from overcapacity and economic re-balancing. The CIER index for these sectors continued to decline in the first quarter of 2017.

Ten worst-performing sectors in the first quarter of 2017

Ranking

Sector

CIER index

1

Energy/mineral/mining/smelting

0.32

2

Printing/packaging/papermaking

0.36

3

Petroleum/petrochemical/chemical

0.36

4

Environmental protection

0.37

5

Instruments/apparatuses/industrial automation

0.44

6

Inspection/testing/authentication

0.47

7

Property management/business center

0.50

8

Aerospace research and manufacturing

0.54

9

Electricity/power/water conservancy

0.56

10

Medical equipment/apparatus and instruments

0.58

IT and internet sector has become a key driver for economic growth. In the first quarter of 2017, the job demand from this sector jumped by 56% year-over-year nationwide. Second- and third-tier cities were facing a shortage of IT talents as job demand surged 81% and 100%, respectively.

Year-over-year change in recruitment demand for
IT/Internet sector in the first quarter of 2017

Nationwide

56%

First-tier cities

28%

Emerging first-tier cities

76%

Second-tier cities

81%

Third-tier cities

100%

The financial sector saw a year-over-year increase of 17% in recruitment demand in the first quarter of 2017. Third-tier cities had the fastest growth in job demand showing a 78% increase.

Year-over-year change in recruitment demand for
financial sector in the first quarter of 2017

Nationwide

17%

First-tier cities

2%

Emerging first-tier cities

35%

Second-tier cities

30%

Third-tier cities

78%

The real estate sector generated a 51% growth in job demand in the first quarter of 2017 year-over-year. The buoyant property market has spilled from first-tier and emerging first-tier cities to second- and third-tier cities. The soaring property prices have boosted overall sector growth and created huge job demand.

Year-over-year change in recruitment demand for
real estate sector in the first quarter of 2017

Nationwide

51%

First-tier cities

18%

Emerging first-tier cities

55%

Second-tier cities

80%

Third-tier cities

103%

Traffic/transportation sector continued to enjoy fast growth with job demand surging 96% in the first quarter of 2017 year-over-year. The central and local governments had intensified investment in transportation infrastructure, which further stimulated the sector's growth.

CIER Index by Regions and Cities

In the first quarter of 2017, Eastern China had the highest CIER index score of 1.60, followed by 1.35 for Central China and 1.33 for Western China. Among all regions, Central China had the fastest growth in job demand at 86% in the first quarter of 2017 year-over-year.

Northeast China was still lagging behind with the lowest CIER index of 1.17 in the first quarter of 2017. With the government support and growth of the new economy, the job demand in Northeast China increased by 67% in the first quarter year-over-year, higher than the 59% growth in the fourth quarter of 2016.

CIER index by regions

Region

1Q 2017 CIER

4Q 2016 CIER

Eastern China

1.60

2.07

Central China

1.35

1.94

Western China

1.33

1.77

Northeast China

1.17

1.40

Smaller cities witnessed faster growth in job demand than larger cities. The job demand in second- and third-tier cities increased by 74% and 102% in the first quarter of 2017, respectively, compared with 24% and 61% growth for first-tier cities and emerging first-tier cities. The job market in first-tier cities was saturated with a CIER index of 0.68 in the first quarter of 2017.

CIER index by cities

City

1Q 2017 CIER

4Q 2016 CIER

First-tier cities

0.68

0.93

Emerging first-tier cities

1.00

1.48

Second-tier cities

1.69

2.23

Third-tier cities

2.14

2.46

CIER Index by Size of Companies

In the first quarter of 2017, the CIER index was slightly below 1 for medium-sized companies and small-sized companies, indicating balanced job demand and supply for these companies. The CIER index was above 1 for micro-sized companies and large companies, showing the job demand exceeded job seekers for these companies.

CIER index by size of companies

Company size

1Q 2017 CIER

4Q 2016 CIER

Large-sized (more than 10,000 employees)

1.65

1.81

Medium-sized (500 to 9,999 employees)

0.92

1.18

Small-sized  (20 to 499 employees)

0.85

1.05

Micro-sized (fewer than 20 employees)

2.09

2.10

Labor Market Outlook

The CIER index is very likely to decline slightly in the second quarter of 2017 compared to first quarter of 2017 due primarily to seasonality and potentially cyclical considerations. 

About Zhaopin Limited

Zhaopin is a leading career platform in China, focusing on connecting users with relevant job opportunities throughout their career lifecycle. The Company's zhaopin.com website is the most popular career platform in China as measured by average daily unique visitors in each of the 12 months ended December 31, 2016, number of registered users as of December 31, 2016 and number of unique customers[2] for the three months ended December 31, 2016. The Company's over 129.5 million registered users include diverse and educated job seekers who are at various stages of their careers and are in demand by employers as a result of the general shortage of skilled and educated workers in China. In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016, approximately 36.9 million job postings[3] were placed on Zhaopin's platform by 509,813 unique customers including multinational corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises and state-owned entities. The quality and quantity of Zhaopin's users and the resumes in the Company's database attract an increasing number of customers. This in turn leads to more users turning to Zhaopin as their primary recruitment and career- related services provider, creating strong network effects and significant entry barriers for potential competitors. For more information, please visit http://www.zhaopin.com.

Safe Harbor Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements made under the "safe harbor" provisions of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "will," "expects," "anticipates," "future," "intends," "plans," "believes," "estimates," "confident" and similar statements. Zhaopin may also make written or oral forward-looking statements in its reports filed with or furnished to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in its annual report to shareholders, in press releases and other written materials and in oral statements made by its officers, directors or employees to third parties. Any statements that are not historical facts, including statements about Zhaopin's beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements that involve factors, risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Such factors and risks include, but not limited to the following: Zhaopin's goals and strategies; its future business development, financial condition and results of operations; its ability to retain and grow its user and customer base for its online career platform; the growth of, and trends in, the markets for its services in China; the demand for and market acceptance of its brand and services; competition in its industry in China; its ability to maintain the network infrastructure necessary to operate its website and mobile applications; relevant government policies and regulations relating to the corporate structure, business and industry; and its ability to protect its users' information and adequately address privacy concerns. Further information regarding these and other risks, uncertainties or factors is included in the Company's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. All information provided in this press release is current as of the date of the press release, and Zhaopin does not undertake any obligation to update such information, except as required under applicable law.

For more information, please contact:

Zhaopin Limited 
Ms. Daisy Wang 
Investor Relations 
[email protected]

ICR Beijing
Mr. Edmond Lococo
Phone: +86 10 6583-7510
[email protected]

[1] Zhaopin's website is the most popular career platform in China as measured by average daily unique visitors in each of the 12 months ended December 31, 2016, the number of registered users as of December 31, 2016 and the number of unique customers for the three months ended December 31, 2016.

[2] A "unique customer" refers to a customer that purchases the Company's online recruitment services during a specified period. Zhaopin makes adjustments for multiple purchases by the same customer to avoid double counting. Each customer is assigned a unique identification number in the Company's information management system. Affiliates and branches of a given customer may, under certain circumstances, be counted as separate unique customers.

[3] Zhaopin calculates the number of job postings by counting the number of newly placed job postings during each respective period. Job postings that were placed prior to a specified period - even if available during such period - are not counted as job postings for such period. Any particular job posting placed on the Company's website may include more than one job opening or position.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/china-labor-market-lifted-by-improving-economy-in-the-first-quarter-of-2017-300442588.html

SOURCE Zhaopin Limited

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